Your Role, Your Responsibility

Every year the last week of September/first week of October is dedicated to Animal Health Week sponsored by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).  Each year a new focus of veterinary medicine is highlighted.  This year it is on responsible antibiotic use.  Just like the phrase in human medicine goes “not all bugs need drugs” so too does this apply to veterinary medicine.


The message taken from the CVMA’s website is:

“Using the campaign slogan Our Role, Our Responsibility, we will encourage animal owners to trust in their veterinarian, use antibiotics safely and keep their pets healthy.


September 15, 2014

When the first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered in 1928, infectious disease treatment took a turn for the better. Rates of sickness and death in humans and animals were greatly reduced, thanks to these antimicrobial products.

Antibiotics are life-saving drugs, but their use must be appropriate in order to preserve the effectiveness of these drugs. A recent report from the World Health Organization indicates the last new class of antibacterial drugs was discovered in the 1980s. There is now an emergence of resistance to antibiotics and the inappropriate use of these life-saving medications is a factor. Widespread resistance may take us back to a time similar to the early 20th century, when many epidemics spread unchecked.

These threatening dog with medsmulti-resistant bacteria don’t only affect humans, but pets as well.   It’s important that we protect the effectiveness of antibiotics for both people and our pets. As a responsible gatekeeper of the reliable medicines that keep your pet healthy, your veterinarian will determine whether or not an antibiotic is required when your pet is sick. If required, your veterinarian will do testing to determine whether or not antibiotic treatment is needed.

As a pet owner, you should administer your pet’s antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your veterinarian. People will sometimes stop taking the medication once we feel better, but for both humans and pets, the full course of treatment is necessary in order to prevent resistant bacteria from developing.

Leftover antibiotics should never be flushed down the toilet, as this can have an adverse effect on amphibians, aquatic species, and the birds and mammals that prey on them. Ask your veterinarian or the veterinary team for advice on disposal.

Finally, healthy animals can better fight off potential illnesses. A healthy lifestyle includes regular veterinary examinations, vaccinations, parasite prevention, exercise and good nutrition.”

Further to their message it should be noted that if antibiotics are taken correctly, there should not be any leftover.  It is important to take the entire course of cast pillantibiotics, even when the infection is looking much better, it may not be entirely healed on the inside, so continue giving your pet the medication as prescribed by your veterinarian until they are all gone.  If you are coming to the end of the round of antibiotics and the infection is still visibly healed, contact your veterinarian.  A longer round of the antibiotics may be required or in some cases a different antibiotic may be necessary.

If we work together we can work to ensure that antibiotics will always be effective in treating infections that require them.  If you have any questions  about your pet’s medications, please contact your veterinarian.



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